Saturday, 4 February 2017

Day 23 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 23 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people found counting trucks almost pointless as other than a few little vehicles, hardly anything came to the site! Thank you thank you thank you wonderful Protectors in Bolton today – impacting AE Yates and Armstrongs; suppliers and enablers of Cuadrilla. The atmosphere was different today and up until the awful part where a Protector and a Security Guard got run down by site staff (more on that later), there was a happier mood made by genuinely friendly people of good intent. Much loved Protectors came to visit from the South and nearer to home, bringing food, cake and most appreciated of all… laughter and friendship. Felt uplifted. Some of us were talking about how truly, no day at the roadside of PNR, is ever the same as the last.

So first to the awful incident in the afternoon that I missed witnessing due to a loo break (these take up to 40 minutes as it’s a trek). When I was arriving back I saw an ambulance and the incident was described to me as: a small truck had been held in place at the traffic lights by a Protector, the driver grew impatient and veered across the road, blocking the only open traffic lane. The driver got out and walked off n anger. A member of site staff got into the vehicle, sped off to the top of the site and quickly, recklessly reversed in – hitting a security guard and a Protector visiting from Lancaster. Police took statements from witnesses and the dangerous driver was breathalysed and questioned – will update when we know about charges etc. Here are the words of some who were there at the time and know more:

[I'm sat on the floor on the pavement opposite the Cuadrilla fracking site. I am on the floor as I am still shocked at what has happened. It happened so fast. Witnessing people get knocked down and reversed into causes weird emotional high alert and then physical shut down. Now I have stopped shaking and crying I can think.

What we witnessed was aggressive driving with blatant disregard for safety. The security guy was knocked down the moment the AE Yates truck reversed into the work zone. His helmet flew off. At this point I started running to see if he was OK. Another protector ran to his aid and ended up behind the now briefly stationary truck. The moment the driver saw the security guy stand he carried on reversing at high speed. If the protestor and security hadn't been carried along, they would have gone under the wheels.

We were screaming at the driver who carried on. And for what?....What is so worth reckless behaviour, behaviour that is life endangering ( is that a word?).

This industry is corrupt it's beyond careless.
This is why I am here.
PLEASE join us. We need to Stop them for all our sakes]

And this from the Protector who was hit by the truck:
["I walked behind the truck to stop the truck from backing up. If the security guard hadn't kept me on my feet I would have been under the truck.I’m OK."]

And another witnessing Protector:
[No, she wasn't injured, thankfully, but it could have been so much worse. The security guard protected her and took the force of the truck.]


Before this the day started with sunshine and welcome smiles from newcomers to the roadside. Lots of new conversation, observations and plan sharing - when word to ear is the best way ;)

Other bits:
Dawn got the freshly broken horn of her car fixed (yes broken due to overuse on her daily drive-bys lol!) and although the children were supposed only to be using whistles till it was fixed – they just gave it everything they had for a full-volume drive-by of perfection. Love that car-full of little ones shouting “Roar like a dinosaur!” and the smile of the driver x

Then there was the return of the near-naked cyclist from a local club, in a variety of costumes cycling by. He went through a range of looks today: fully clothed clown on a bike, semi-clothed clown on a bike, near-naked clown on a bike and then simply a return to near-naked cyclist (appropriately at last) on a bike.

The end of the week at the roadside but tomorrow still brings the chance to find out more, meet up and make plans at our PNR Solidarity Saturdays – every Saturday at Maple Farm (just down the road next to World of Water Blackpool.) from 10-2. Hosted by RAFF - Residents Action on Fylde Fracking If you can’t make it, we’re back at the roadside on Monday, see you then?

*Highlight of the day… the passion for ‘the plan’ ;)

*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson